Posts Tagged ‘photos’
By Sherry Stocking Kline
September 22, 2009
My great-grandparents, Roderick Remine and Frances “Fanny” Hitchcock Stocking are buried here, in the Osborne Township Cemetery near Mayfield, Sumner County, Kansas. This cemetery lies on the Chisholm Cattle Drive Trail.
Roderick and Frances came to Kansas from Michigan in the 1870’s, homesteaded just north and west of this cemetery, in a one-room house so small they had to put the table out of the house at night to put down their beds.
Their first child, my grandfather, Elmer Stocking, was born in that tiny house! Fortunately, they built a bigger house before they had three more sons, Ralph Hurlburt, Roderick Porter, and John Lester.
My great-grandmother passed away from cancer in 1920, but my great-grandfather Roderick lived to be nearly 98 years old, passing away in 1951. I remember him as being tall and distinguished looking.
My mother, his granddaughter-in-law, says he was a “fine, gentle, man” and she always thinks of him when she thinks of this verse, “Prayer was his key for the morning and his lock for the night”.
by Sherry Stocking Kline
first published in Wichita Eagle’s Active Life Magazine – September 2000
Now that summer’s over, and you’ve got a shoebox full of vacation, grandchildren, wedding, and graduation photographs, it’s time for you to preserve those memories between the pages of a book, like a pressed flower, to be enjoyed again and again.
So where do you start first?
“Get some history attached to those photos,” said Bob McCreary, “that’s the first and probably the most important step.”
McCreary and his wife Kathy co-own Scrapbook Garden, Wichita, Kansas. McCreary said that Kathy carries photographs with her in her purse and whenever she has a few minutes while watching television, waiting for the doctor, or waiting to get a driver’s license she sorts photos and makes quick notes on the back with a photo safe pencil.
Once you have them sorted, McCreary said it’s really a quick step after that to put the photos in an acid-free, lignin-free photo album, and then “journal” or tell about the photos.
Each year, Gerry Reimer does a summer vacation album, and adds more pages to her all-Christmas album.
Journals Don’t Have to Be Elaborate…
Reimer said not to let your friends’ elaborate journals scare you off. “Streamline,” Reimer said, “get the photos on the page, and get the people identified.”
“First of all,” Reimer said, “Tell yourself it’s o.k. not to use all the photos you have.” Reimer said to choose pictures that tell who you are and where you were at that time, and be sure and include names and dates in your albums.
“I don’t keep a travel diary,” Reimer said, but Reimer said she jots down a few notes, picks up ticket stubs, colored brochures, saves travel itineraries and whatever else they might want to use in their vacation albums.
Reimer said you’ll know what you want to do, and what you don’t, after you finish your first book. Reimer’s first photo album was her wedding album.
“We’d been married 49 years,” Reimer said, and I didn’t like our wedding photos, so I had a wonderful time cropping off what I didn’t like and journaling about the pictures.” Reimer said she does “bullet journaling”, or writes short statements under most photos, saving long stories for special photographs or events.
Start With Recent Photo’s…
Bonnie Loewen, Creative Memories consultant, said the easiest way to get started is with your last roll of film while your memory of the event is fresh, and work your way backwards.
Tell A Story…
Loewen said to tell a story with words as well as with pictures. How were you feeling? What was going on in the family, and the world? Loewen said even the current price of bread and gasoline will be interesting to future generations.
Loewen said to write as you would talk, don’t worry about punctuation, and write a sloppy first draft. You can re-write it later, Loewen said.
Answer the Five W’s – Engage the Five Senses…
Think about the five senses and the five W’s, advised both McCreary and Loewen, adding that it will make ideas for captioning your photos come easier. Just remember to answer the questions who, what, when, where, and why questions, and engage the emotions by writing about how something looked, sounded, tasted, felt, and smelled.
Preserve Your Handwriting, too…
McCreary said and its faster to use a computer to journal, but it’s not as personal, so he said not to be afraid to write in pencil and go over it later with a permanent marker, or even cover up mistakes with cardstock.
“Some people don’t like their handwriting,” McCreary said, “but people years from now will cherish seeing the handwriting of the person who made the journal.”
Scrapbooks can help bridge the generation gap, so along with vacation, wedding and family photos, include stories and pictures of military service and other events to help future generations understand the times you lived through, and what makes your family special.
Ordinary Days are Important…
Loewen said it’s also good to make pages of what an ordinary day was like in your family, too, not just the special events. “And make a signature page,” Loewen said, with your name, date, who the album is for, and why you did it, “it’s kind of like signing a quilt.”
If you have a lifetime of photographs ask for help from your family. Reimer said that kids and grandchildren are great to help photo captions.
McCreary agreed, “it’s good to get family members involved.”
“Make it a fun activity,” McCreary said, “have everyone sit down and talk about the photos, and try to communicate some of the emotion.” You get different perspectives of an event by talking to different people.
“It’s really exciting that people are making a legacy and trying to pass on their roots and their values,” Loewen said, “values can be lost in one generation if they are not preserved.”
“People will forget you in one generation if you don’t tell your story,” Loewen said, “you can make such a difference in people’s lives with a scrapbook.”
“In a sense,” Reimer said, “your whole book is the story of your family.”
By Sherry Stocking Kline
published in the Wichita Eagle’s “Active Life” magazine in November 2005
If disaster strikes, whether it’s Hurricane Katrina, your water heater sprung a leak, or your photographs have water and smoke-damage from a fire, don’t make the trash your first destination of choice for the remains.
Sometimes, even wet, stuck together photographs can be salvaged, but you have to act fast.
“A lot depends on the circumstances,” said Darrell Garwood, preservation officer, library archives division, Kansas State Historical Society, “There is a lot of dirt and contaminants in flood water,” Garwood said, “If they have been in water, especially dirty water longer than 48 hours they may not be able to be re-claimed.”
A lot also depends on what type of photographs are damaged. Are they fairly modern? Are they old? One-of-a-kind? Hand-tinted? What kind of paper are they on?
Before you do anything, you need to know what kind of photographs you are dealing with, and it may be necessary to consult a professional for help. To help you determine what kind of photographs you can safely repair yourself, or if you have no choice but to attempt the repair yourself, there are books, such as “How to Save Your Stuff From a Disaster” by Scott Haskins, and websites such as Northeast Document Conservation Center, www.nedcc.org, and the Kansas State Historical Society’s website at www.kshs.org, (click on preserve) can help you determine what kind of photographs you have, and how best to preserve them.
According to Gary Albright, senior paper/photograph conservator, Northeast Document Conservation Center, there are a number of different photographic processes, and while some photographs can be immersed for a day or more and still be restored, others will be completely ruined by a just a few minutes of water exposure.
“Time is of the essence: the longer the period of time between the emergency and salvage, the greater the amount of permanent damage that will occur,” Albright said.
Haskins stated that it’s best to consult a professional who can deal with the photographs without adding to the damage, especially if you have old or vintage photographs.
Wet photographs should always be a priority. Albright said that wet photographs should be air dried or frozen as quickly as possible to prevent mold damage. (Yes, he really did say frozen.)
If the photographs are still wet, it’s best to put them in clean, cool water, distilled water. Change the water often to make sure the water stays clean. Do not use bleach, detergent, fungicide or disinfectants. Do not touch, rub, scrub, or try to force stuck-together photographs apart. Handle them by the edge only, preferably with a blunt, clean pair of tweezers.
Drain excess water off the photographs, and lay them out flat, and separated, on clean, lint-free material to dry. Do not use newspapers. Negatives should be hung up by the edges to dry vertically. Circulate the air the help speed up the drying process and to prevent mold. Do not use a heater.
Can’t deal with them right away? Freeze any photographs that cannot be cleaned and dried within 72 hours.
If they are already wet, rinse off any dirt, mud, etc., separate photos or groups of stuck together photographs with wax paper, put them into zip lock freezer bags and put them in the freezer. Do NOT stack anything on top of them.
If your photos are damaged, you still may be able to scan them at 300dpi or better, and use image editing software such as Adobe Photoshop or Corel’s Paint Shop Pro to repair copies of your damaged photographs. You can use that new, digital copy to make new photographs.
Garwood stated that prevention is the most important thing, and Garwood agreed.
“Address prevention first,” Garwood said, “store them properly and avoid basement storage because basements are always the first thing to flood in a house.”
After prevention, Garwood suggested that you spend a little time in disaster preparedness. Know where your photographs, family letters, video tapes, DVD’s, and important papers are, so you can go right to them for a speedy recovery should it become necessary.
If possible, Garwood said, have back-ups and replacements.
“Make this part of your emergency preparedness plan, and remember that your papers and photos are not as important as yourself,” Garwood said, “People should always come first in a disaster.”
2009 Author’s Suggestion: Before freezing or beginning any restoration attempts, consult with professionals if at all possible.
This article idea came to mind following Hurricane Katrina, and the tornado that struck the Haysville, Kansas area. We drove through the tornado devastation where houses were turned into matchsticks, and papers and pictures were blowing in the wind. I realized that after life and limb were safe, it was the thought of losing my photographs that bothered me most if we were to be struck by a tornado.
by Sherry Stocking Kline
Wichita Eagle’s June 2001 “Active Life”
When Tammy Pontious’s great-grandchildren look at her family history scrapbook many years from now, Pontious doesn’t want them to see stiff, posed photos of people in their Sunday best clothes. She wants them to be able to see what they were like when they were working and playing.
“The key is to carry your camera with you,” said Pontious, who keeps her camera handy and often carries it along when she drives her daily school-bus route. “You’ll have missed opportunities if you don’t.”
Bob McCreary, who co-owns Scrapbook Garden, www.scrapbookgarden.com, with his wife Kathy, agreed. Many people keep one of the “point-and-shoot” or disposable cameras that take remarkably good photographs handy, said McCreary, adding that for a clearer photo with a point and shoot camera, you must aim the focal point of the camera at someone in the group and not at the background.
Because photographing people in front of a simple background is often better, Pontious looks at the background before snapping and decides if it will help tell the story or just clutter up the photograph, though with today’s digital software, it’s fairly simple to crop out, blur, or even replace an unwanted background.
Close-up’s are great for people photos and eliminating distracting backgrounds, but check your camera’s manual before taking one, advises Kodak.com, as some cameras cannot focus closer than four feet from the subject. When using a flash, you need to check your flashes’ useful range as well. For many cameras, anything past 10 to 12 feet is a dark blur, as any concert goer can attest to after snapping photo after photo only to get home with photos of a shiny bald head about eight feet in front of them.
Pontious, who calls herself “a picture fanatic,” said you need to take lots of photographs.
“You just can’t be stingy with the film,” Pontious said, “for $8.00, you’ll probably come up with two or three photos that you’re in love with.”
For sharp, clear photographs, hold the camera steady, and try Pontious’ technique of visualizing the photo before gently pressing the shutter button. Pontious said she also tries a variety of different and unique angles, works to capture candid facial expressions, and likes to catch her family’s silhouettes in profile shots.
Pontious also ‘stalks’ the wildlife on their river farm, catches her dogs in silly poses, snaps her mom relaxing on the porch swing, and her husband and son while they work, hunt, and fish.
“That’s our lives,” Pontious said. Our descendants may say, “look what great-grandpa did back in those days.”
“You know the old saying about 1000 words? There is a lot of information that finds its way into a photo almost by accident, and sometimes it becomes significant to us later.” McCreary said.
“It’s candid shots of people doing things that tell the story of our lives,” McCreary said, “if Uncle Ralph was a farmer – take a photo of him on his combine. If someone hunts or fishes a lot get a photo of the big catch.”
To avoid that squinty-eyed look outdoors, photograph people on overcast days or in the shade using fill-in flash to highlight faces and chase away the shadows. Pontious said her favorite time of the day to take outdoor photographs is in the early morning or late afternoon, and said that she also likes to photograph subjects using the warm, natural lighting near a window.
“I just don’t like what I end up with at high noon,” Pontious said, “the photos all end up looking washed out.”
Pontious said that she looks for little situations and happenings, but she also works to create photographic events.
How does she do that? She sets up fun events for people to enjoy. One event that yielded some favorite photographs was a tea party she held for several laughing and giggling young cousins while she sat the corner of the porch “click, click, clicking away.”
McCreary said that while you are capturing your family in photographs, don’t forget to photograph your home(s), inside and out, and your yard, farm, barns, and outbuildings that are a part of your life today, and may be only a memory someday.
Pontious treasures the family resemblances she sees in the photographs of grandparents that died before she was born. She said that many of their photographs have been passed down from one person to another, from one generation to another, from trunks to attics, and came on covered wagons from there to here. She feels she is handing down a family history treasure to her son Dallas.
“A photo can tell you everything in the world,” Pontious said, “emotions, social status, whether they were rich or poor, lifestyle, facial features, looks and personality. What I would hope,” Pontious said, “is that it will tell them my values, hopes, dreams and what I accomplished.”
Someday she hopes that her descendants will look at her family history book and read the anecdotes, stories, and poems that are woven throughout, and will choose to preserve it, and hand it down again.
“Who knows where they’ll go in my son’s journey,” Pontious said.
by Sherry Stocking Kline
August 30, 2009
Written for FamilyTreeWriter.com after finding a family’s photographic treasures in a yard sale….
Call me crazy, but I love to garage sale. Go to them. Not have them.
So one lazy Friday afternoon when I was on my way to somewhere else I spotted a yard sale, slammed on the brakes, jumped out of the car, and went over to see if there was anything I couldn’t live without.
Not much. But there among the mismatched glasses and old pillow cases was a box of photographs with $2.00 written on the box flap.
I looked at the folks holding the yard sale, and trying not to sound like they’d just put a price tag on one of their children, I asked, “You’re selling your photographs?”
“No,” they answered, “they were here when we moved into the house.”
“Oh,” I answered, and feeling better I thumbed through the photographs. Some were old, maybe even early 1900’s old. Some appeared to have been taken in the 1930’s and judging by the clothes, crew-cuts, and cars, they seemed to continue up through the 50’s and 60’s.
Naturally, most were without names.
I walked around, browsed the other tables, but that box kept calling my name. Honest, it just pulled me back to it.
No matter how good or bad, my family photographs are treasures, bits and pieces of our lives, snapshots of our memories. This was someone else’s box of memories, someone else’s babies, someone else’s high school graduation, and someone else’s vacations. Surely somewhere there was someone who would be glad to have them back.
I started to pick up the box, all the while muttering under my breath, “You don’t have time,” “You may not find the family,” and “You’ve got enough to do preserving your own family history.”
But I’m pretty good at playing devil’s advocate, too. “Remember how you nearly cried when that elderly third cousin on your mom’s side that you just located told you she’d thrown her own family photos (your own family photos, too) away?” “Remember how excited you were when another new-found cousin gave you a photograph of your great-grandparents and you saw their faces for the first time.”
Then, my final winning argument, “if you can’t find the family(s) you can always send the photos to DeadFred.com, a website for ‘orphan’ photographs, as well as a place to upload your own ancestors.
“I’m a genealogist,” I said, explaining that I would like to take them and find their family.
“Do you have any idea who these belong to,” I asked. And that’s when the lady brought out the high school autograph book she found among the photographs and let me go through it. A few had signed their first and last names (a genealogist’s dream) and one or two included the city, state, and date, “Senior 1936” and “Eads, Colorado.” Eureka! Helpful clues.
So that did it. I was hooked and reeled in.
Ever the bargainer, I asked if they would take a dollar for it.
“Sure,” they said. I had a plan and a fall-back plan if I couldn’t find the family. So after I copied the information from the autograph book onto a raggedy envelope I had in my purse, I packed up the box, brought it home, and set about planning my next move.